V. Expansion in the South: The Khaljis and the Tughluqs

*First Conquests* == *The Consolidation of Muslim Rule*

        [[61]] ON THE surface, the seizure of the throne by Jalal-ud-din Firuz in 1290 was the act of a strong and ruthless individual; in reality, it was the achievement of power by one large clan, the Khaljis. Their triumph illustrates one of the basic ingredients in the history of Islamic India: the role in the continual power struggles of different groups within the ranks of the Turkish invaders. Ethnically the Khaljis were Turks, but because of their earlier migration from the Turkish homelands they constituted a group quite distinct from those who had come into the Ghazni and Ghuri areas at a later time. Although they had played a conspicuous role in the success of the Turkish armies in India, they had always been looked down upon by the Ilbari Turks, the dominant group during the Slave dynasty. This tension between the Khaljis and other Turks, kept in check by Balban, came to the surface in the succeeding reign, and ended in the displacement of the Ilbari Turks.

        Khalji success against the aristocratic Turks had far-reaching sociopolitical results. Muslim government ceased to be a close preserve of the Turkish aristocracy and not only the Khaljis but other groups such as the indigenous Muslims began to share power. For the first time, the historians refer to the “Hindustanis,” the local Muslims, and soon converts such as Malik Kafur were occupying the highest position in the state. The efforts of the Muslim missionaries and Sufis had begun to bear fruit and a sizable number of Muslim converts was available for the service of the state. The rule of the Khaljis did not last more than thirty years, but the social revolution which their success engendered, and the large increase in manpower which resulted from it, enabled the Delhi government to take a major step forward and conquer the vast areas south of the Vindhyas.

        When Jalal-ud-din came to the throne he followed a policy of exceptional mildness and forbearance. This reconciled the general population [[62]] to him, but the Khalji nobles were shocked at the sultan's behavior. They attributed it to senility—he was more than seventy when he came to the throne—and openly started plotting against him. The plot which succeeded was that of his nephew and son-in-law, Ala-ud-din. This ambitious young man had been appointed governor of Kara (near modern Allahabad), and there, surrounded by other discontented officers, he organized an army to make a bid for the throne of Delhi. To support his army he plundered neighboring unconquered Hindu territories.

First Conquests

        Ala-ud-din started by invading Malwa and capturing the town of Bhilsa, a wealthy commercial center. He decided next on a bolder step. At Bhilsa he had heard of the wealth of the great southern kingdom of Devagiri. Without obtaining the permission of his uncle, and making arrangements at Kara for supplying Delhi with such periodical news about his movement as would allay suspicion, he set out in 1296, at the head of 8,000 horse. So far, no Muslim ruler had crossed the Vindhyas, and Devagiri was separated from Kara by a two-month march through unknown regions. The success of this extraordinary raid against a powerful kingdom is explained partly by good luck and partly by Ala-ud-din's ability and courage. He returned to Kara with a huge booty—17,250 pounds of gold, 200 pounds of pearls, 58 pounds of other gems, 28,250 pounds of silver, and 1,000 pieces of silk. Some of Jalal-ud-din's nobles, particularly the loyal and vigilant Ahmad Chap, were critical of Ala-ud-din's moves, but his brother, who was at the court, lulled the sultan's suspicions. He was able even to persuade Jalal-ud-din to go to Kara to meet Ala-ud-din, who, he said, was too penitent to come to Delhi after having undertaken a major military operation without royal authority. The sultan, according to a contemporary historian, was blinded by greed, and, welcoming the suggestion, he proceeded to Kara, where he was assassinated. Ala-ud-din Khalji ascended the throne, and, with a judicious distribution of riches brought from Devagiri, he was able to win over the public of Delhi.

        [[63]] Ala-ud-din's twenty-year reign may be divided into three phases. During the first period (1296–1303) he defeated the Mongols, reconquered the Hindu kingdom of Gujarat, and reduced Ranthambhor (1301), Chitor (August, 1303), and other Hindu strongholds in Rajasthan. In the second period (1303–1307) his attention was given largely to securing and consolidating his power. He continued, however, to extend his territory. In 1305 he sent Ain-ul-Mulk Multani to Central India, where he subdued Malwa and conquered the forts of Ujjain, Chanderi, and Mandawar. Malwa was annexed, and Ain-ul-Mulk appointed its governor. In the final period, he was engaged in the conquest in the South.

        The Mongols had continued to threaten India, and in 1290 they raided as far as Delhi. They returned in 1303 with an army of 120,000, besieged Delhi, and forced Ala-ud-din to retire to the fortress of Siri. Their reason for withdrawing after two months is not clear; and while Barani attributed it to the power of the prayers of a local saint, Ala-ud-din realized that more effective steps were necessary to deal with the Mongol menace. He proceeded to reorganize the defenses in the western Punjab, where the fortifications established by Balban had fallen into disrepair, and placed the frontier province of Dipalpur under Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq, the ablest soldier of the realm. He also raised a powerful standing army independent of the contingents of the fiefholders, and made it adequate for all offensive and defensive purposes. This meant that Ala-ud-din's officers could take the offensive against the Mongols, and they raided their territory as far as Kabul and Ghazni. After 1306, partly because of these measures, partly because of the death of the Mongol ruler of Transoxiana, India ceased to be troubled by the Mongols.

        During the third period (1307–1313), Ala-ud-din completed the conquest of South India. The ground had been prepared for this by his conquests in Central India, and in 1307 his general, Malik Kafur, defeated Raja Ramchandra of Devagiri, who had withheld the tribute he had promised to pay after Ala-ud-din's first raid. The raja was brought to Delhi, and, reaffirming his submission, he received the title of Rai Rayan. Two years later Malik Kafur led another expedition to the south and conquered Warangal. Among the booty was a great diamond, [[64]] identified by some with the famous Koh-i-Nur. In this campaign the raja of Devagiri gave the Muslims considerable help, including a force of Marathas. Next year Malik Kafur set out on a year-long expedition which, through the defeat of the rajas of Madura and Dvarasamudra, extended the Muslim dominion to the southern sea-coast. During this expedition, the Muslim officers built a mosque, either at Rameshwaram on the island of Pamban, or on the mainland opposite.

        Ala-ud-din did not bring the newly conquered territories in the south under his direct administration. Devagiri was an exception. When the raja of Devagiri died in 1311 and his successor refused to accept the suzerainty of Delhi, it was annexed as part of the sultanate of Delhi. Other conquered territories such as Warangal, Madura, and Dvarasamudra continued under local rajas who paid an annual tribute.

        Ala-ud-din Khalji was a soldier, undisciplined by formal education. When fortune smiled on all his early projects, his fancy soared high and he began to think of conquests in other fields. He played with the idea of establishing a new religion, and at times expressed a desire to sally forth from Delhi, and, like Alexander, to embark on a career of world conquest. He even issued coins referring to himself as Alexander the Second. Luckily his nobles were not afraid of giving him sound advice, and he had the good sense to listen to them. He had four principal counsellors, but it was the old Ala-ul-Mulk, the kotwal of Delhi, who dissuaded the king from attempting to carry out his plans. Ala-ul-Mulk's interview is vividly described, perhaps with a touch of imagination, by his nephew, the historian Barani./1/ Ala-ul-Mulk told the sultan that the introduction of a religion was a matter for the prophets and not for kings, and pointed out that the Mongols, in spite of their great power, had not been able to replace the Islamic religion. As for foreign conquests, the sultan could not undertake them until he had completely conquered and established his rule in the whole of India, and even then he could leave his realm only if he had a sagacious and dependable deputy like Alexander's Aristotle to look after the kingdom during his absence. Ala-ud-din had an uncertain temper, but he recognized the wisdom of the old [[65]] counsellor. He never talked again about religious innovations, and he dropped his plans for world conquest.

        During the early years of his reign, two rebellions—one at Delhi and another in Oudh—and an attempted assassination forced Ala-ud-din to consider precautions against attempts to overthrow his rule. According to his advisers the rebellions had four main causes: 1) an inefficient system of intelligence which prevented the sultan from knowing what was happening; 2) the widespread use of wine, which loosened tongues, encouraged intimacies, and bred plots and treason; 3) the strengthening of the position of the nobles by intermarriage; and 4) the possession of wealth by certain sections of the people, which, relieving them of the necessity of work, left them leisure for mischievous thoughts./2/ Ala-ud-din dealt systematically with all these causes. He set up an efficient system of intelligence and taught himself to read the illegible handwriting known as shikasta, in order to be able to decipher the reports of his informers. He prohibited the use of intoxicating liquor and set an example by causing his wine vessels to be broken and having the wine poured out. He regulated marriages among the nobles and revised the taxation system so as to reduce the surpluses of the prosperous classes. This latter measure hit both the Muslim and Hindu privileged classes. It included the Muslim holders of inam lands (rent-free grants) and waqf (pious endowments), and those Hindu chiefs who had been allowed to retain their lands in return for the payment of tribute. Apparently many of them had used their positions to build up centers of intrigue against the ruler.

        Among the most interesting of Ala-ud-din's actions were the famous price-control measures. Modern historians, following Barani, have generally held that these were introduced in order to keep the cost of the new army at a low level./3/ Other contemporary or near-contemporary writers such as Afif, Ibn Battuta, Isami, and Hazrat Nasir-ud-din Chiragh-i-Delhi indicate that Ala-ud-din controlled prices of the necessities of life so that the general public might benefit./4/ Barani's explanation appears odd, since a ruthless ruler like Ala-ud-din [[66]] could easily have provided for the upkeep of his army by other means, such as additional taxation. In order to deal with a limited problem it was hardly necessary for him to introduce a detailed and complicated system involving elaborate administrative measures over wide areas. All contemporary authorities except Barani indicate that Ala-ud-din, in spite of his obvious defects, had firm ideas of the responsibilities of kingship. Their interpretation is that he felt that the most effective way to benefit the public and achieve lasting renown was to place reasonable price controls on the necessities of daily life. Those who have seen the difficulty of enforcing a rigid price control in India and Pakistan in modern times know that this could not be achieved by royal edict, and one cannot read Barani's account of various regulations and administrative steps taken by Ala-ud-din without admiring his administrative ability and the competence of his officers. To enforce his orders regulating prices he introduced the following: the system of obtaining land revenue in the form of food grains; the buildup of vast stores from which corn could be issued at the time of need; control of transport; a simple method of rationing when necessary; and the buildup of an elaborate organization to carry out the whole system. Ala-ud-din made a success of this scheme, which continued in operation throughout his reign. It is no wonder that after his death the poor forgot his cruelty and remembered his rule with gratitude; they even visited his grave as if it were the tomb of a holy man./5/

        It is only recently that scholars, piecing together bits of information from different sources, have begun to realize the extent of Ala-ud-din's administrative achievements. K. R. Qanungo, for example, credits him with organizing the army on a new model. He accomplished this, according to Qanungo, by arming it directly through the Ariz-i-Mamalik, paying in cash from the state treasury, choosing the officers himself, and stamping out corruption in the supplying of horses by requiring that they be branded./6/

        Ala-ud-din kept in touch with the army when it was on the move through an elaborate system of dak-chauki, or postal relay. When he [[67]] sent an army on an expedition he established posts on the road at which relays of horses were stationed, and at every half or quarter kos runners were appointed. "Every day or every two or three days," according to Qanungo, "news used to come to Sultan reporting the progress of the army, and intelligence of the health of the sovereign was carried to the army. False news was thus prevented from being circulated in the city or the army. The securing of accurate intelligence from the court on one side and the army on the other was a great public benefit." While this system was not original with Ala-ud-din—the Abbasids had used it—the efficiency with which it was set up indicates Ala-ud-din's thoroughness in matters of administration.

        More important for Ala-ud-din's subjects were his arrangements for proper assessment of land revenue—a continuing concern of Indian governments. He introduced the method of assessment of revenue on the basis of land measurement, as this appeared to him more satisfactory from the point of view of the state than merely exacting as much as seemed feasible from the peasants. While the system was not extended very far and did not take sufficient root to survive the death of Ala-ud-din, it shows that the most important feature of Sher Shah's revenue system was originally introduced by the Khalji ruler.

        A full assessment of cultural aspects of his rule is yet to be made, but the scattered indications on the subject are enough to show that it was a very important period in the cultural life of medieval India, comparable almost to that of Akbar during the Mughal period. Indeed it may be said that if consolidation of Muslim rule was the work of Balban, Muslim India attained cultural maturity in the days of Ala-ud-din Khalji. The wealth that poured into Delhi after the conquests in South India made possible the maintenance of a large army, and enabled the ruler and other beneficiaries to undertake cultural activities on a lavish scale. Ala-ud-din did not live long enough to realize all his architectural dreams, but he has left many splendid monuments. Developments in the realm of music were even more significant. After the conquest of the Hindu states in the south, musicians moved north to seek the patronage of Muslim kings and nobles. Luckily Delhi had men such as Amir Khusrau who availed themselves [[68]] of the situation, and a new era in Indo-Muslim music was opened.

        Developments in literature were equally remarkable. Amir Khusrau (c.1254–1324), one of the greatest of Indo-Islamic poets, lived during the reign of seven monarchs, but the royal court with which he was associated longest was that of Ala-ud-din. The Khalji king's outlook was too practical to permit him to appreciate literature, but the poet must have benefited by the general prosperity of the period. As a poet, musician, historian, biographer, courtier, and mystic, he assisted in the evolution of a new pattern of culture, humanistic, artistically rich, and in harmony with the environment.

        Unlike earlier poets, Amir Khusrau was not an immigrant, but was born in India of an Indian mother. Living in an era which saw the large-scale expansion of Muslim rule in the south and its consolidation in the north, including the defeat of the Mongols, his works breathe a spirit of exultation, self-confidence and local pride. His liberal Sufi outlook and probable Indian origin on the maternal side enabled him to admire and imbibe the praiseworthy elements of the old Indian tradition. He studied Indian music and introduced changes and innovations which made it acceptable to the new Muslim society. He wrote long poems on local themes. His poetry is full of pride in his native land, its history, its people, its flowers, its pan and its mango; he also held that Persian as spoken, and written in India was purer than the language used in Khurasan, Sistan, and Azerbaijan. A poem written in the last year of Ala-ud-din's reign gives vivid expression to this spirit:

Happy be Hindustan, with its splendor of religion,
Where Islamic law enjoys perfect honor and dignity;
In learning Delhi now rivals Bukhara;
Islam has been made manifest by the rulers.
From Ghazni to the very shore of the ocean
You see Islam in its glory.
Muslims here belong to the Hanafi creed,
But sincerely respect all four schools [of law].
They have no enmity with the Shafites, and no fondness for the Zaidis.
With heart and soul they are devoted to the path of jamm'at and the sunnah. [[69]]
It is a wonderful land, producing Muslims and favoring religion,
Where the very fish of the stream are Sunnis.
        While this outburst of intellectual creativity was at its height, control of the kingdom began to slip from the aging Ala-ud-din's hands. The excesses of a luxurious court had left him an invalid. Instead of the group of counsellors which had helped him in his days of triumph, he was dominated by Malik Kafur, a eunuch who had been one of his most successful generals. After Ala-ud-din's death in January, 1316, Kafur blinded the heir to the throne, intending to seize power for himself, but he was murdered by another son of Ala-ud-din, who became sultan under the name of Mubarak Shah.

        Mubarak Shah's brief reign was the beginning of a grim but curious episode in the history of the Delhi Sultanate. His favorite was Khusrau Khan, a convert from a low Hindu caste who, after four years of dominating his master, had him murdered. Khusrau Khan ascended the throne, put to death all members of Ala-ud-din's family, and tried to make his rule secure by various devices including a liberal distribution of gifts, on the line adopted by Ala-ud-din when he had usurped the throne. His treatment of his patron and his family, however, had alienated public opinion. Furthermore, the behavior of Khusrau's companions, many of whom were Hindus, convinced leading Muslims that there was a possibility of the revival of Hindu supremacy or at least displacement of Islam from the position it occupied. It is conceivable that if the insurgents had had a suitable leader capable of winning the respect of Hindu chiefs and the public, they might have reestablished Hindu power. But Khusrau's low-caste companions behaved with incredible stupidity, destroying mosques and copies of the Quran. Important Muslims outside of Delhi, led by Ghazi Malik, who had been one of Ala-ud-din's frontier generals, gathered an army and attacked the sultan. Khusrau's forces were totally defeated, and since he had murdered all the members of Ala-ud-din's family, the nobles made Ghazi Malik the new sultan. As Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq Shah, he became the first ruler of the Tughluq dynasty, which maintained itself for nearly a hundred years.

The Consolidation of Muslim Rule

        [[70]] According to generally accepted accounts, Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq, who became sultan of Delhi in September, 1320, was the son of a Turkish slave of Balban and a Jat woman. With a distinguished record as a defender of the sultanate against the Mongols, he faced first the task of restoring the authority of the Delhi government, which had been weakened during the disorders that followed Ala-ud-din's death. In the south, the tributary raja of Warangal had declared his independence; Ghiyas-ud-din met the challenge by annexing his kingdom. The governor of Bengal had also revolted, and while suppressing this rebellion Ghiyas-ud-din expanded his boundaries by the conquest of Tirhut (the ancient Mithila), which had remained outside Muslim rule. This was his last campaign, however, for he was killed in 1325 in the collapse of a victory pavilion erected to celebrate his triumphal return from Bengal.

        The son who succeeded him was Muhammad Tughluq (r.1325–1351), whose character was a puzzle both to contemporary and later historians. Highly gifted and accomplished, and possessing great purity of character, he endeavored throughout his reign to create a just and orderly society. Instead, he soon gained a reputation for barbarous cruelty, and his rule brought misery to his people and greatly weakened the power of the Delhi Sultanate.

        Admittedly this was due partly to natural calamities, for his reign coincided with a long period of drought which in intensity and extent was one of the worst the subcontinent has ever known. From 1335 to 1342 there was widespread famine, and although the king tried to deal with the situation by opening poor-houses and distributing free grain, the problem was beyond his resources. But his misfortunes were not all due to natural and unavoidable causes. A man of ideas, he continually conceived new schemes; and if they were not well received, he lost patience and resorted to ferocious cruelty to enforce them. The most famous incident of this kind occurred in 1327. He had decided, in view of repeated rebellions in the south, that it was necessary to shift the capital to a more central place. He selected [[71]]


[[72]] Devagiri, which he named Daulatabad, as the new seat of government, and he forced the Muslim inhabitants of Delhi to migrate to the new capital. Many perished on the long march to Daulatabad, and eventually the sultan allowed them to return to Delhi. On the face of it, the operation seems to have been an act of folly, yet there is no doubt that the migration of a large Muslim population drawn from all sections of society helped to stabilize Muslim rule in the south. Like many of his schemes, it failed, not because his idea was wrong, but because his organization was not adequate to carry it out.

        Another controversial measure was the sultan's issue of token currency. The prolonged famine, the expensive wars, and royal liberality had severely strained the exchequer. Muhammad Tughluq's solution was to issue brass and copper tokens in place of silver coins. Again, the idea was probably sound enough, and one that has been adopted everywhere in the modern world. However the measure was too unfamiliar and too complex for fourteenth-century India. The result was severe dislocation of the economy. Counterfeiting became common and as Barani says, "every Hindu's house became a mint." The king had the good sense to acknowledge his failure, and the token currency was withdrawn from circulation after three or four years. Its introduction and failure neither enhanced public confidence in the sultan nor restored economic prosperity to the country.

        There were widespread rebellions throughout Muhammad Tughluq's reign, and the vast empire which Ala-ud-din Khalji and Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq had governed with success began to fall apart. Early in his reign he had to deal with the revolt of Baha-ud-din Gurshashp, a cousin who was given shelter by the Hindu rajas of the south. Muhammad Tughluq sent a powerful force against the defiant rajas, annexed Kampili, sacked Dvarasamudra, and forced its ruler to surrender Gurshashp and to reiterate his submission to the government of Delhi. The cousin's fate was indicative of the sultan's treatment of rebels. He was flayed alive, his flesh was cooked with rice and was sent to his wife and children, while his skin, stuffed with straw, was exhibited in the principal cities of the kingdom. But even such ferocious punishments did not prevent rebellion; perhaps they drove men to rebel out of desperation and fear.

        In 1335 Ma'bar, in the extreme south, became independent, followed [[73]] three years later by Bengal. The Hindu rajas in the south organized a confederacy, and in 1336 Vijayanagar became the nucleus of a powerful Hindu state. A year later, when the Muslim chiefs in the Deccan set up the independent Bahmani kingdom, the entire area south of the Vindhyas was lost to Delhi. In the same year Gujarat and Kathiawar revolted, but the sultan was able to quell the rebellions in these two areas. Next it was Sind, and in 1351 he was marching towards Thatta to put down the revolt when he fell ill and died. As Badauni says, "The king was freed from his people and they from their king."

        While the breakup of the Delhi Sultanate began in the reign of Muhammad Tughluq, the disasters which overtook him during the last years of his reign need not be the only basis for assessing his character and abilities. Until extreme irritation at the failure of his plans had warped his judgment, driving him to revolting cruelties, he had tried, as a man of ideas, to steer his course according to certain intelligent plans and considerations. His policy toward the Hindus, for example, was conciliatory, and he had tried to introduce social reforms, such as the abolition of sati. He appointed a Hindu as governor of Sind, and employed others in high positions. The Jain chroniclers remember with gratitude the respect with which he received their theologians. When northern India was afflicted by the seven-year famine, he built a new town on the Ganges near the worst affected area, giving it the Hindu name of Svargdvara, the "Gate of Heaven."

        Muhammad Tughluq's greatest achievement was in the south. Previous rulers, particularly Ala-ud-din Khalji, had established suzerainty over the Hindu princes of the south, but in general had left them in possession of their territories as long as they paid tribute. Muhammad Tughluq, however, set out to end Hindu rule in the south. Warangal and Madura had already been incorporated in the Tughluq dominions, and now Kampili and a large part of the Hoysala dominions shared the same fate. Not all of these conquests were maintained, for even during Muhammad's lifetime a powerful Hindu reaction led to the foundation of Vijayanagar, but much remained. Above all, the creation of Daulatabad out of the old fortress city of Devagiri gave the Muslims a great stronghold.

        Mention must be made also of the attempt by Muhammad Tughluq [[74]] to establish links with other Muslim countries. Among the many distinguished visitors who came to Delhi at this time perhaps the most famous was Ibn Battuta (c.1304–1378), the Moorish traveler who was appointed chief judge in the capital. He has left an interesting account of the capital as well as of places in Sind, Multan, and the Punjab which he visited on the way to Delhi. He was sent on a diplomatic mission to China, and although he did not return to India, his Book of Travels is a useful source for the history of Indo-Islamic society.

        Muhammad Tughluq's successor was his cousin, Firuz Tughluq, who reigned from 1351 to 1388. While the commencement of the Tughluq rule had seen a new emphasis on orthodoxy, Firuz's reign saw an even greater attempt to govern India in conformity with Islamic law. Until Aurangzeb, in fact, no other ruler made such a serious endeavor to champion orthodoxy as a guide for the state. The study of Islamic law was encouraged, and Firuz attempted to enforce the law not only among orthodox Muslims, but also among sects such as the Ismaili Shias and the non-Muslims. For the first time jizya was levied upon the Brahmans, who had hitherto remained exempt from the tax. On appeal, the king reduced the amount to be levied from 10 tankas to 50 jitals, but maintained the tax as a legal formality.

        In this support of orthodoxy Firuz was probably swayed by personal religious beliefs, even though he was not, in his private life, a strict follower of the Islamic code. Probably he was conscious also that one reason for Muhammad Tughluq's failures was lack of support from the powerful religious leaders, and therefore he was anxious to win them to his side.

        The measures by which Firuz helped to gain a reputation for orthodoxy were of a formal nature; the developments which shed luster on his reign were the steps taken in the furtherance of public welfare. In many ways he was the ablest of the Muslim rulers of Delhi previous to Akbar, and contemporary historians describe at length the steps he took to assist agriculture, promote employment, and secure the happiness and prosperity of the people. He initiated extensive irrigation schemes, digging five canals to distribute the water of the Sutlej and Jhelum over a large area. One of these continues to be used up to the [[75]] present day. Also he set up an employment bureau where young men who were without work in the city of Delhi gave their qualifications, and occupations were found for them.

        The greatest monuments of Firuz's rule, however, are the buildings and the towns founded by him. He is credited with the erection of 200 towns, 40 mosques, 30 colleges, 30 reservoirs, 50 dams, 100 hospitals, 100 public baths, and 150 bridges. He built a magnificent new capital near Delhi, and the two important towns of Jaunpur and Hissar were founded by him. He set up a regular Department of Public Works, which erected new buildings and took steps to restore the structures of former kings. He removed two gigantic monolithic pillars of the emperor Ashoka, one from a village in the Ambala District and the other from Meerut, and had them set up near Delhi. He also showed his interest in India's past by having translations made of a number of Sanskrit books which he found during his conquest of Kangra in 1361.

        But Firuz did little to prevent the disintegration of the sultanate which had already set in during the last years of the reign of his predecessor. The process was speeded by his death, for a civil war broke out between his son and grandson. The Hindu chiefs threw off their allegiance and governors of provinces became independent. The weakness of the kingdom invited foreign invasion and in 1398 Timur, the Barlas Turkish chief who ruled at Samarqand, invaded India. He had no intention of staying in India, but came, as had the invaders of four centuries before, to take back slaves and booty. After terrible destruction, including the sacking of Delhi, he returned home, but he had helped to destroy the Delhi Sultanate. Possibly it could not have survived long in any case, but certainly Timur's raid effectively prevented the Tughluqs from regaining their control.

        The familiar story of dynastic decay thus repeated itself. In the decade following Firuz's death, six sultans briefly occupied the throne. The last of the Tughluq line, Mahmud, fled from Delhi during Timur's invasion. Although he returned after his departure, managing to stay on the throne until 1413, he was not able to ensure the succession to a member of the house.


/1/ H. M. Elliot and John Dowson, A History of India as Told by Its Own Historians (London, 1867–1877), III, 169–71.
/2/ Elliot and Dowson, III, 178.
/3/ Elliot and Dowson, III, 191–97.
/4/ Shams-i-Siraj-i-Afif, Tarikh-i-Firuzshahi, ed. by Maulvi Wilayat Husain, (Calcutta, 1890); A. M. Husain, The Shahnama of Medieval India of Isami (Agra, 1938), p. 293; Mahdi Husain, The Rehla of Ibn Battuta (Baroda, 1953).
/5/ S. M. Ikram, Ab-i-Kausar (Lahore, 1958), pp. 163–68.
/6/ K. R. Qanungo, Sher Shah (Calcutta, 1921), p. 361.

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